Did this person have a conversion experience? Relate to Batson’s 4 stages of religious development, and James’ discussion of conversion. Yes, I had a conversion experience. I was in church and heard a sermon that spoke to mean on an emotional level. I then realized over the next few weeks that I was not truly going to be able to live forever. So, I sought the help from God and his redeeming grace through Christ. I started on
a new road to a Christian walk with God that one Sunday during the church invitation. This experience I had was very emotional for me but overall followed the four stages of religious development, existential crisis, self-surrender, new vision, and new life as mentioned in Baston et al (1993). The process started with an existential crisis, I was faced with my mortality. I went through self-surrender, where I tried to fix the crisis on my own and failed to the point where I looked for help outside my sphere of influence. I looked to God. I then went through new vision when I found my answer through Christ’s sacrifice for me. Finally, I arrived and am still in the stage of new life. I am trying to live my life in accordance to how God has instructed me so that I may continue to partake of Christ’s grace and blessings. - Does this person employ any methods to facilitate religious experience? Relate to the discussion of Batson et al. Batson et al. (1993) describes many different methods that people use to achieve religious experience. Some people use psychedelic drugs like LSD or peyote while others use things like meditation. These methods alter oneself in some way allowing one to have the religious experience. Baston et al. (1993). The drugs alter one through chemicals and the meditation through mindfulness and letting go of focus to alter cognitive functions. I do employ certain methods to help achieve religious experiences. I used meditative prayer and music to reach religious thoughts and experiences. These methods allow for me to transcend beyond myself and focus on the environment around me. I do not have major hallucinations but I do feel closer to God when I focus like this. I will not use psychedelic drugs to achieve these experiences because of the risk they pose to my health and for the simple fact that they are illegal.
- What are this person’s views of the reality of his/her religious experiences. Relate to James’ discussion of the reality of the unseen. I highly believe in the reality of my and many other’s religious experiences. One example of, what James (1902) would call an unseen experience, is again after my engagement was ended. After I was cheated on I did not want to be around people and so I constantly would lock myself in my room and just sulk. After a while of sulking and feeling secluded and alone I began to pray about my situation. Soon after starting to pray frequently I began to feel less and less alone and that God was with me to help me through this troubling time. This experience is very fond to me and has strengthened my religious resolve in God but also strengthened my belief in religious experiences. My experience is along the lines of what James (1902) describes as